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Leaders of Poland and Russia unite in Smolensk

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Leaders of Poland and Russia unite in Smolensk


The leaders of Russia and Poland have marked the first anniversary of the plane crash which killed Poland’s former president and 95 other top officials with a ceremony at the Smolensk site.

Presidents Dmitry Medvedev and Bronislaw Komorowski used the visit to try to put aside recent tensions between their two countries.

A dispute over a memorial plaque and a report into the accident have recently soured relations.

President Dmitry Medvedev said he shared Polish mourning, adding he would “do everything to explain the causes of the catastrophe in a reliable investigation.”

President Bronislaw Komorowski confirmed that he and Medvedev were interested in ending the prosecutors’ investigation into the causes of the Smolensk catastrophe “as fast as possible.”

Poles have been infuriated by Russian changes to the memorial plaque, which took out any mention of a 1940 genocide by Russian officers, the anniversary of which had been the reason for the doomed trip.

That, together with the only report into the accident clearing Russian air controllers and solely blaming the plane’s Polish pilots for the tragedy, has inflamed Polish sensitivities.

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